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The Parkland Trojans were crowned Eastern Pennsylvania Conference boys soccer champions, and the Northampton Konkrete Kids were the EPC runner-up in Parkland’s 2-1 victory over the K-Kids on Saturday afternoon at J. Birney Crum Stadium, Allentown.

Admittedly a second-half team, the Trojans took hold of the first half with a goal in the eighth minute.

“It was a missed header and it came right back to our team where Trevor [Grice] had a beautiful pass and I knew I had to step in, take a one-time shot, and slot it away for us,” said Parkland midfielder Logan Thrash, who put the Trojans on the scoreboard first. “Definitely, it gave us the confidence and the leeway to make some mistakes and improve on them as well.”

That early goal was a significant one for the Trojans (19-1-1).

“To get that insurance means a lot,” said Grice, who was credited with the assist. “Especially earlier in the playoffs, we struggled getting out to an early lead and it almost cost us against East Stroudsburg South in the first round. But to get that goal, that insurance means a lot.

“I saw the right back trying to head it back to the goalie, so I tried to get there as soon as I could, brought it down on my chest, and Logan was right there. Anything to help your team win means a lot.”

Despite the Trojans’ early goal, the Konkrete Kids weren’t thrown off their game.

“We started right away,” said Northampton coach Chris Bastidas. “We had the ball in the box. The kids were executing. Unfortunately the ball didn’t go in, and it hit the post. We didn’t finish and it’s tough to bring Parkland down. You have to create your own chances, and I felt we did a good job of doing that.”

Time of possession was on the K-Kids’ side in the first half, but several header attempts midway through the period missed the goal.

Northampton (18-3-0) came close to tying the match early in the second half multiple times, but a deflection, a save by Parkland goalie Matthew Link, and a shutdown by the Trojan defense finally ended the threat at the 25:00 mark.

“It gets a little hectic at times, but we all work together,” said Parkland defender Luke Blenis. “It’s communication from everybody, figuring it out together. We just had to stick to what we were doing the whole time and finish.”

A free kick by Parkland forward Sam Masenheimer in the 70th minute doubled the Trojans’ insurance.

“I could see the wall was cheating a little bit to the left side to help cover the center of the goal more, so I decided to curl it in,” Masenheimer said. “At first, it was surprise because I really thought it was coming off the post, and after that I was very happy. It feels incredible. It’s just the best, really.”

A hand ball call gave Northampton another opportunity to get in the match, and in the 78th minute, Jackson Vajda’s penalty kick put the K-Kids on the scoreboard, but with time running out.

“It was the longest 1:45 in awhile,” said first-year Parkland head coach Scott Mang. “That was dangerous. They could pump the ball into the box. They could get a set piece. They had a couple little flurries there We had to defend, and it’s not easy to defend against a team like Northampton.

“They took us out of what we wanted to do because the other night at Nazareth, we were passing the ball all over the place. But this is all buying into making substitutions, keeping them fresh, coaching them up, and getting them back in the game.”

All was not lost for the K-Kids, however, the first Northampton boys soccer team to earn a conference medal, heading to district playoffs which are scheduled to begin this week.

“We’re definitely happy, but we came here to win this game,” said Coach Bastidas. “So now we have to put this game behind us and know they’re gonna win a bunch of games, and we have tough teams to play also, and get settled back in for more tough competition.”

Parkland enters the district playoffs as the top seed in Class 4A with a quarterfinal match up against No. 8 Easton. Northampton is the No. 2 seed and will host No. 7 Freedom in Wednesday’s first round. Semifinals are scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 1 with the title match on Thursday, Nov. 3.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB The Parkland boys soccer team beat Northampton 2-1 Saturday to earn this year's East Penn Conference title.
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Parkland goali Matthew Link makes a save during the league title game.
PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Parkland's Douglas Martinez carries the ball up the field during the Trojans' win over Northampton in the league championship.
PRESS PHOTO B Joshua Daniels holds off a Northampton player while possessing the ball during the EPC title game.